A few years ago, after learning that a healthy lifestyle can prevent most heart attacks, I decided to go plant based. At the time I thought “vegan” and “plant-based” was pretty much the same thing. However, after catching up on veganism, I realized that you can be VERY unhealthy on a vegan diet. So does that mean eating a healthy plant-based diet and being vegan, is completely different? Let’s find out.
What is a plant-based diet anyway?
According to the World Health Organization, The American Heart Association and the World Cancer Research Fund, we should be eating plants, and lots of them! It’s difficult however, to find a definition from the major leading health organizations of what a “plant-based diet” actually is. They don’t suggest for example a “80-100%” ratio. They usually just say “the more, the better”. So, I had to find other sources for a definition, and it goes something like this:
Apparently the definition is a bit “loose”. If we look at it from a logical perspective though, eating meat for dinner once a week and plants the rest of the week, is plant-based. Eating meat/cows milk/eggs/cheese/fish 5 times a day, is definitely not plant-based. They also go on saying the food intake needs to be variated and healthy. Healthy means no added salt, refined flour/sugar, etc. Variated means: eat the rainbow!
So what’s veganism?
Well, veganism is such a huge topic that I have divided my website into four parts to describe it. It’s actually not about food. I repeat: veganism is not about food!! Put very simply: It’s a philosophy to lower the harm and suffering to our surroundings. This means no animal products like meat, dairy, eggs, cheese, fish, poultry, feather, leather, wool, animal testing, zoos, marine parks, and so on. Veganism automatically becomes a plant-based diet due to this philosophy. However, some people think when you’re vegan, you’re a health freak or love animals. For some this might be true, but it’s not the case for everyone. If you love animals and don’t want to see them suffer, not eating them seems like the thing to do. And if you still drink alcohol, smoke tobacco, dont exercise and eat only french fries for dinner, you’re still vegan, but definitely not healthy. So in other words: Veganism is always a plant-based diet, but a plant-based diet is not always vegan.
We’ve know for a while that healthy lifestyle changes prolongs life. Eating a healthy, plant-based and variated diet plays a BIG part in these lifestyle changes, so make sure that if you’re vegan and want to be healthy: do it right!!
I hope this clarified a little bit! 🙂